Peter Navarro, the White House Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, declined to say Monday whether or not the United States should continue adhering to its Phase 1 trade deal with China.
Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade first asked Navarro if, “knowing that the world economy is so tenuous right now, is this the time, and it might be, to take them on in every way and tear up this trade deal?”
“It’s well above my pay grade and decision-making process,” Navarro responded. “That’s a decision for the president. The only thing I can tell you, Brian, is that what this crisis has done, which was caused by China, has heightened the need to bring supply chains and our manufacturing home.” (EXCLUSIVE REPORT: The Inside Story Of How The Trump Team Is Rebuilding Our Supply Chain Preparedness)
Navarro was an active participant in the Phase 1 trade deal negotiations, which were formalized during a January state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Under the pandemic, President Donald Trump tapped Navarro to serve as the Defense Production Act coordinator, and he has been a leading voice within the administration on retaking control of America’s medical supply chain. He frequently accuses China of intentionally misleading the international community on the severity of the pandemic and then using the confusion to “vacuum” up the world’s supply of personal protective equipment.
In recent weeks, White House staff has split on an executive order championed by Navarro that would put pressure on U.S. companies to return health care manufacturing to the United States. The “Buy American” order would prevent federal agencies from purchasing medical supplies, including face masks, gloves and ventilators, from China, yet several White House officials tell Daily Caller the administration is pursuing legislative options to secure the supply chain.
“I strongly believe and I think the American people strongly believe that China inflicted trillions of dollars of damage on this country and there should be some form of compensatory damage,” Navarro added Monday morning. “I think there should be some form of compensatory damages and I think there’s a lot of discussion on Capitol Hill about that.”